My interest in food and nutrition developed during my time as a postgraduate student at Oxford where my research was focussed on amino acid metabolism and its role in clinical nutrition. My research in the area of clinical nutrition continued during my time as a post doc in the States. However, mainly as a consequence of my work at the Food Science Laboratory in Norwich and at Kingston University, my research is now focused on the biological activity of natural products including the anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties of culinary herbs and spices. I am currently a theme leader for the Sport, Exercise, Nutrition and Public Health Research Group (http://sec.kingston.ac.uk/research/research-groups/senphrg/), and a core member of the Cancer Research Group (http://sec.kingston.ac.uk/research/research-groups/crg/); both form part of the Interdisciplinary Hub for the Study of Health and Age related Conditions. I have worked as an academic at Kingston University since 1998 and, in addition to pursuing my research interests, I am Head of Department for Applied and Human Sciences. With the pressures of teaching, administration, course development and staff and student management, running the department is challenging however my role provides me with opportunities to engage with numerous activities and initiatives at all levels. I was an external examiner at St Mary's University College (until 2013) and at Worcester University (until 2014).
Head of the Department of Applied and Human Sciences
My research expertise has lead to the successful supervision the following research projects:
MScs by Research: Immunology of Human Breast Milk K. Paramasivam (2006); Bioavailability of Chinese Herbal Remedies E. Panagiotou (2007); Inhibition of COX-2 expression and β-catenin activation in colorectal cancer cells in vitro: an investigation of the chemo-preventive action of common culinary spices I. Baker (2013); Inhibition of COX-2 expression and β-catenin activation in colorectal cancer cells in vitro: an investigation of the chemo-preventive action of common culinary herbs A. Jaksevicius (2013); The synthesis of norlignans and homoisoflavonoids to determine the selectivity of COX-2 inhibitory action. Student: Jacob Hiles (2019)
PhDs: Impact of Chinese Herbal Remedies on Tumour Biology S. Willimot (2007); The impact of digestion and gut bioavailability, in vitro, on the polyphenolic associated activity of cooked culinary herbs M Chohan (2011); Elucidation of mechanisms by which culinary herbs and spices exert the inhibitory action of the growth of colorectal cancer cells in vitro (A Jaksevicius 2017).
Current research students: PhD: High-Resolution NMR evaluations of marine oil lipid oxidation products (lops): solving health controversies regarding omega-3 fatty acids. Student: Angela Allen. Supervisory Team: Prof Declan Naughton, Prof Martin Grootveld, Dr Elizabeth Opara
Pukka Herbs full funded MSc by Research Studentship: An investigation of the effect of Whole Ashwagandha powder on academic stress in university students. Student: Ming Tang Supervisory Team: Dr Elizabeth Opara (First Supervisor), Dr Owen Spendiff, Dr Elizabeth Pummell
PhD: In vitro and in vivo investigations of the anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs when combined with non-herb foods. Student: Omolara Sunday Supervisory Team: Dr Elizabeth Opara (First Supervisor), Dr Michael Stolinski, Dr Magali Chohan (St Mary's University) and Dr Athina Mryto Chioni
MSc by Research: Investigating the metabolism of tatrazine by the gut microbiome. Student Gemma Hoynes. Supervisory Team: Dr Elena Polycarpou, Dr Elizabeth Opara (Co-supervisor) and Dr Ali Ryan
Moir, Hannah J., Kemp, Rachael, Folkerts, Dirk, Spendiff, Owen, Pavlidis, Cristina and Opara, Elizabeth (2019) Genes and elite marathon running performance : a systematic review. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 18, pp. 559-568. ISSN (print) 1303-2968
Opara, Elizabeth I (2019) Culinary herbs and spices : what can human studies tell us about their role in the prevention of chronic non‐communicable diseases? Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 99(10), pp. 4511-4517. ISSN (print) 0022-5142
Takou, Dieudonne M., Kamdem Waffo, Alain F., Langat, Moses K., Wansi, Jean D., Mulcahy-Ryan, Lauren E., Schwikkard, Sianne L., Opara, Elizabeth I., Mas-Claret, Eduard and Mulholland, Dulcie A. (2019) Melanin production inhibitors from the West African 'Cassipourea congoensis'. Planta Medica International Open, 6(02), e50-e56. ISSN (online) 2199-157X
Jaksevicius, Andrius, Carew, Mark, Mistry, Calli, Modjtahedi, Helmout and Opara, Elizabeth I (2017) Inhibitory effects of culinary herbs and spices on the growth of HCA-7 colorectal cancer cells and their COX-2 expression. Nutrients, 9(10), ISSN (online) 2072-6643
Schwikkard, Sianne, Alqahtani, Alaa, Knirsch, Walter, Wetschnig, Wolfgang, Jaksevicius, Andrius, Opara, Elizabeth, Langat, Moses, Andriantiana, Jackie and Mulholland, Dulcie (2017) Phytochemical investigations of three Rhodocodon (Hyacinthaceae Sensu APG II) species. Journal of Natural Products, 80(1), pp. 30-37. ISSN (print) 0163-3864
Chohan, Magali, Naughton, Declan P. and Opara, Elizabeth I. (2014) Determination of superoxide dismutase mimetic activity in common culinary herbs. SpringerPlus, 3(578), ISSN (print) 2193-1801
Opara, Elizabeth I. and Chohan, Magali (2014) Culinary herbs and spices: their bioactive properties, the contribution of polyphenols and the challenges in deducing their true health benefits. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(10), pp. 19183-19202. ISSN (print) 1422-0067
Baker, Iona, Chohan, Magali and Opara, Elizabeth I (2013) Impact of cooking and digestion, in vitro, on the antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 68(4), pp. 364-369. ISSN (print) 0921-9668
Chohan, Magali, Naughton, Declan, Jones, Lucy and Opara, Elizabeth (2012) An investigation of the relationship between the anti-inflammatory activity, polyphenolic content and antioxidant activities of cooked and in vitro digested culinary herbs. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2012, ISSN (print) 1942-0900
Willimott, Shaun, Barker, James, Jones, Lucy A and Opara, Elizabeth I (2009) An in vitro based investigation of the cytotoxic effect of water extracts of the Chinese herbal remedy LD on cancer cells. Chemistry Central Journal, 3(12), ISSN (online) 1752-153X
Chohan, Magali, Forster-Wilkins, Gary and Opara, Elizabeth I (2008) Determination of the antioxidant capacity of culinary herbs subjected to various cooking and storage processes using the ABTS[sup]*+ radical cation assay. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 63(2), pp. 47-52. ISSN (print) 0921-9668
Willimott, Shaun, Barker, James, Jones, Lucy A. and Opara, Elizabeth I. (2007) Apoptotic effect of Oldenlandia diffusa on the leukaemic cell line HL60 and human lymphocytes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 114(3), pp. 290-299. ISSN (print) 0378-8741
Opara, Elizabeth I. (2004) The efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicines. British Journal of Nutrition, 91(2), pp. 171-173. ISSN (print) 0007-1145
Hanley, A.B., McBride, J., Oehlschlager, S. and Opara, E. (1999) Use of a flow cell bioreactor as a chronic toxicity model system. Toxicology in Vitro, 13(4-5), pp. 847-851. ISSN (print) 0887-2333
Opara, E.I., Oehlschlager, S.L., Day, L., Ridley, S.A., Vaughan, R. and Hanley, A.B. (1999) An in vitro cell based model for assessing the potential of allergens to release mediators through the cross-linking of IgE. Toxicology in Vitro, 13(4-5), pp. 811-815. ISSN (print) 0887-2333
Veerabagu, Manjakkollai P., Opara, Elizabeth I., Meguid, Michael M., Nandi, Jyortimoy, Oler, Albert, Holtzapple, Philip G. and Levine, Robert A. (1996) Mode of food intake reduction in Lewis rats with indomethacin-induced ulcerative ileitis. Physiology & Behavior, 60(2), pp. 381-387. ISSN (print) 0031-9384
Opara, Elizabeth I., Meguid, Michael M., Yang, Zhong-Jin and Hammond, William G. (1996) Studies on the regulation of food intake using rat total parenteral nutrition as a model. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 20(3), pp. 413-443. ISSN (print) 0149-7634
Opara, Elizabeth, Meguid, Michael M., Yang, Zhong-Jin, Chai, Jia-Ke and Veerabagu, Manj (1995) Tumor necrosis factor-alpha and total parenteral nutrition-induced anorexia. Surgery, 118(4), pp. 756-762. ISSN (print) 0039-6060
Opara, Elizabeth, Laviano, Alessandro, Meguid, Michael M. and Yang, Zhong-Jin (1995) Correlation between food intake and CSF IL-1 alpha in anorectic tumor bearing rats. NeuroReport, 6(5), ISSN (print) 0959-4965
Parry-Billings, M., Bevan, S. J., Opara, Elizabeth, Liu, C.-T., Dunger, D. B. and Newsholme, E. A. (1993) The effects of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors I and II on glutamine metabolism by skeletal muscle of the rat in vitro. Hormone and metabolic research, 25(5), pp. 243-245. ISSN (print) 0018-5043
Parry-Billings, Mark, Preedy, Victor, Opara, Elizabeth, Liu, Cheng-Tzu and Newsholme, Eric A. (1992) Acute ethanol administration and the metabolism of glutamine by skeletal muscle of the rat: implications for ethanol-induced reductions in protein synthesis. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 27(6), pp. 613-618. ISSN (print) 0735-0414
Bevan, S. J., Parry-Billings, M, Opara, Elizabeth, Liu, C. T., Dunger, D. B. and Newsholme, E. A. (1992) The effect of insulin-like growth factor II on glucose uptake and metabolism in rat skeletal muscle in vitro. Biochemical Journal, 286(2), pp. 561-565. ISSN (print) 0264-6021
Parry-Billings, M, Bevan, S. J., Opara, Elizabeth and Newsholme, E. A. (1991) Effects of changes in cell volume on the rates of glutamine and alanine release from rat skeletal muscle in vitro. Biochemical Journal, 276(2), pp. 559-561. ISSN (print) 0264-6021
Bevan, S. J, Parry-Billings, M., Opara, Elizabeth and Newsholme, E. A. (1991) The effect of cell volume on the rate of lactate release from rat skeletal muscle. Biochemical Society Transactions, 19(2), ISSN (print) 0300-5127
Parry-Billings, M., Dimitriadis, G. D., Leighton, B., Bond, J., Bevan, S. J., Opara, Elizabeth and Newsholme, E. A. (1990) Effects of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism on glutamine metabolism by skeletal muscle of the rat. Biochemical Journal, 272(2), pp. 319-322. ISSN (print) 0264-6021
Schwikkard, S., James, E. E., Mulholland, D. A., Knirsch, W., Corson, T., Opara, E. and Jaksevicius, A. (2015) Novel, bioactive homoisoflavonoids from a Madagascan Rhodocodon species (Hyacinthaceae, sensu APG II). In: 63rd International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA2015); 23 - 27 Aug 2015, Szeged, Hungary. (Unpublished)
Baker, I., Chohan, M. and Opara, E.I. (2011) The impact of cooking and digestion on the antioxidant capacity and polyphenol content of common culinary spices. In: From plough through practice to policy; 04 - 06 Jul 2011, Reading, U.K.. (Unpublished)
Chohan, Magali B.N., Naughton, Declan P, Jones, Lucy A and Opara, Elizabeth I (2010) An investigation of the relationship between the anti-inflammatory properties and the polyphenolic antioxidant activities of culinary herbs. In: XXVth International Conference on Polyphenols; 24 - 27 Aug 2010, Montpellier, France.
Chohan, Magali, Naughton, Declan, Jones, Lucy and Opara, Elizabeth I (2008) The impact of digestion and absorption on the antioxidant capacities and total phenolic contents of a selection of cooked culinary herbs. In: XXIVth International Conference on Polyphenols; 08 - 11 Jul 2008, Salamanca, Spain.
Panagiotou, E., Jones, L.A. and Opara, E.I. (2006) An assessment of the use of an in vitro cell based model of the intestinal tract to investigate the bioavailability of the Chinese herbal remedy 'Oldenlandia diffusa'. In: 54th Annual Congress on Medicinal Plant Research; 29 Aug - 02 Sep 2006, Helsinki, Finland.
Opara, EI, Oehlschlager, SL, Day, L, Ridley, SA, Vaughan, R and Hanley, AB (1999) An in vitro cell based model for assessing the potential of allergens to release mediators through the cross-linking of IgE. In: 10th International Workshop on In Vitro Toxicology (INVITOX 98); 14/09/1998-14/09/1998, SPARSHOLT, ENGLAND.